6 Steps to Becoming an In Demand Personal Trainer

In these health-focused times, wellness is a booming industry. Here's how to make a big impact helping people reach their fitness goals.

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By Chris Porteous

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Are you a fitness enthusiast who wants to take it one step further and become a personal trainer?

If you love helping others, this is a great career to pursue. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the fitness industry's job opportunities will grow by 15 percent between 2019 and 2029 because of greater health awareness.

Follow these steps to chart a path towards success as a personal fitness coach.

Get certified as a personal trainer

Getting a certification is the first step before you begin taking on clients. You don't need a sports medicine degree, but you'll need the right credentials to offer credibility to your clients. It gives them the confidence that you have the qualifications to train them.

When looking where to start, you want to make sure you get the best personal trainer certification possible. Some excellent options are the International Sports Science Association (ISSA) and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Most fitness companies also require you to have safety certificates in first aid, CPR and automatic defibrillators.

Find your niche

Although job opportunities are growing, you'll face tough competition. You'll need to show potential clients that you offer more value to them than the others.

Your résumé should showcase your experience. Specializing in nutrition and weight loss programs, injury rehabilitation, or strength training helps.

You might think that serving every need is good for business, but being an expert in specific physical exercise fields will make you stand out from the crowd. People are more likely to choose you over someone who is a generalist.

You might want to cater to a specific clientele such as senior citizens, busy soccer moms, people with physical disabilities, pregnant women, or athletes. Choose the segment you're passionate about training. When you're happy with what you do, your clients will enjoy working out with you too.

Related: How To Add Wellness Coaching to Your Personal Training Business

Keep educating yourself

After you're certified, you still need to stay ahead of your competition. You'll want to keep abreast of fitness trends, sports medicine advances and new training methods. Your potential clients are likely aware of these revolutions and are looking for an instructor who can teach them.

Be sure to attend conventions and seminars for personal trainers, read the latest books on fitness trends and take online courses to gain specialized certification. Know what your market wants and offer it to them.

Related: This Fitness Entrepreneur Is Poised to Go Big and Wants Your Help

Build rapport with clients

Getting customers is easy. Your challenge is to retain them for the long term because it costs more to draw new people into your business than to keep them.

To establish a connection with your patrons, ask questions about their current lifestyle, limitations and what motivates them. Put yourself in their shoes so you can tailor a program that's both enjoyable and helps them achieve their purpose.

Get the word out on social

Promoting what you offer may sound intuitive, but it's a challenge for most business owners. Most of them prefer to outsource that task to a third party so they can focus on what they do best. That may not be financially possible when you're starting, though, so you'll need to learn how to do it yourself.

Online advertising has made it more straightforward and inexpensive than the traditional methods. These days, you don't have to pay an ad agency thousands of dollars to create a business campaign. You can do almost everything on your laptop or hire freelancers.

Ideally, familiarize yourself with social media marketing and use it to build a following. You're in a very personalized profession and you need to gain the trust of your prospective customers. Use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to interact with people and let them get to know you better.

Just don't make the mistake of overselling your service. Instead, provide free and useful information that benefits your followers to establish yourself as an expert.

Related: Beginner's Guide to Social Media Marketing

Hit your target

Remember that you don't need to be the most educated instructor or expert marketer to be successful. While certification and experience are what prospective customers initially look for, what keeps them as longterm clients is the knowledge that you care about them.

Chris Porteous

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

High Performance Growth Marketer

Chris Porteous is CEO of SearchEye, which offers unbundled digital marketing projects for clients and agencies across the globe.

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